Conservatorship: The new ‘ugly laws’

Another tool to take individuality and power away from poor, disabled, and senior people will start in SF and LA.

“This (conservatorship law) sounds like slavery to me,” Memphis, houseless poverty skola reporter for POOR Magazine’s RoofLESS radio, reported after a terrifying town hall on SB1045, the new anti-poor people legislation that was just signed into existence by Gov. Jerry Brown and will be enacted as a “demonstration”  law in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

It used to be a crime in this country to be disabled. Now it’s a crime to need help. Image: Wikimedia commons

“SB1045 expands who can be ‘conserved’ in three counties in California,” said Susan Mizner, an ACLU disability rights lawyer who spoke at the town hall on this law held in San Francisco earlier this month. She went on to explain the target of this law: “it is targeted at homeless people with psychiatric and/or addiction issues.”

Beginning with the turn of the century “ugly laws,” which made it illegal to be unhoused and disabled in public, legislation in the US literally incarcerated people for being poor, for not having money to pay illegal taxes to the rich and/or for having outstanding debt (a reality which still exist in many cities today). 

These violent anti-poor people laws were an extension of indentured servitude and the enslavement, rape, murder, and land theft of First Peoples and stolen African peoples. But then as you travel down the violent path of paper violence, politricksters and what I affectionally call Lygislations, you end up with the conservatorship programs adopted into law across the US and completely related to the supposed care — read forced treatment — of disabled children and adults and elders supposedly unable to care for themselves.

Like most of the colonizer laws, the Conservatorship laws enable and support the buying, selling, stealing, and pillaging of poor poeples’ assets, bodies and homes. They are rooted in western hetero-patriarchal, agist, ableist diagnoses of mental and physical health, while at the same time, providing an ongoing population and need for a multi-million dollar industry of elder ghettos, group-homes, nursing homes, mental hospitals, etc. And through the Conservatorship law already on the books, poor elders and their families can lose their only assets, lose their ability to take care of themselves, and owe the state thousands of dollars which follows them to the other side of the spirit journey.

So now in 2018, in addition to the hundreds of laws already in place, which make it illegal to sit, stand, sleep, lean, lie, put a backpack down, put up a tent, or eat while houseless in cities across California, we have a new one. A new law that takes the criminalization, incarceration, and harassment of poor folks to new violent, sci-fi movie level. It’s part of a national trend toward the government taking control of older people’s lives.

“If you are homeless and have been taken in on eight consecutive 5150 violations, you could be subjected to this conserving,” said Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness at the town hall.
 
And oddly, just like the ugly laws, which worked with the settlement houses aka the saviors  nd social workers this law is supported by neoliberal politricksters like San Francisco’s mayor, who claim this is the solution to homelessness. And just like Care Not Cash of the early 2000’s put into law by poltrickster Gavin Newsom, this is another way for the state to steal aka “Conserve” poor people’s resources, because once you are CON-served every asset, belonging, thing you have will be seized by the state, ensuring that not only will be incarcerated for being seen, we will also be unable to survive outside of the institution.
  
“Does this law expand the Lanterman Act which gives services to disabled peoples in California?”  my brother and revolutionary in disability and economic justice at POOR Magazine and founder of Krip Hop Nation asked, and sadly no-one on the panel could answer. Leroy worries the impact on disabled communities of this Conservatorship will weaken the Lanterman act which is the only way disabled, poor Californians get resources.

To hear Memphis and other poverty skola reporters for RoofLESS radio and POOR Magazine go to PoorNewsNetwork on YouTube or www.poormagazine.org. To contact Tiny, go to her website www.lisatinygraygarcia.com and to find out about an upcomg county-wide action by RoofLESS radio/POOR Magazine and Krip Hop Nation on this violent law email poormag@gmail.com